The Master, whose lay name was Ch'en, was from
Hou Shih. He left the home life when he was very young. In the third year of the
Reign Period Chen Kuan (630 C.E.), he addressed a petition to the Emperor
requesting permission to journey to India in search of Buddhist scriptures; the
Emperor, however, would not grant his request. Undaunted, on his own initiative he left Chinese territory at the Yu
Pass (in Hsi Tsang). I
The Master was the second Patriarch of T'zu En Temple, his master Chieh Hsieh being the first.
A verse in praise of the Master say's:
While still quite young he ably explained the texts,
Because of his great genius and intelligence.
He sought the Dharma throughout all difficulties,
So utterly sincere he forgot his life.
He translated more than five hundred texts--
They soar to the pinnacles of the magnificent teachings--
And began the propagation of the Dharma Marks School.
Another verse in the Master's praise says:
From antiquity onwards, in China and abroad, he is unequaled and unexcelled;
For the sake of Dharma forgetting his flesh, he waded through hazards and perils.
The Master's sincerity moved the heavens to protect him,
His faith and vows were enough to return the springtime to the world.
His adamantine will unshaken by adversity,
The horde of demons could not foil his firm desire for Bodhi.
Peach trees bloomed six times in one year, a miracle of verification,
gaze from afar and hope that T'zu En, will return to
I There are differing traditions concerning the Master's departure from China. For more information on these traditions and bibliographical material see Upasaka Linebarger's article in VBS Issue #13, April 1971, page 26, and the story of the Three Cart Patriarch in issue #27, page 28.
The next issue of Vajra Bodhi Sea will present Dharma Master K'uei Chi, the Three Cart Patriarch of Tz'u En Monastery who left the home life with a traveling wardrobe, a mobile canteen, and a bookmobile. The Venerable Master Hua's biographical sketch of the Patriarch K'uei Chi, accompanied by his commentary containing some delightful stories, will be found in May's installment of Bodhi Seal of the Patriarchs.